Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Beware Of The 'G' mail Inbox

Google's Gmail pioneered the automatic scanning of e-mail content in order to append context-sensitive advertisements to them.  Permitting e-mail content to be read, even by a computer, raises the risk that privacy in e-mail will be compromised.  Furthermore, mail that non-subscribers happen to send to Gmail account holders is also scanned by Gmail automatically, even though those senders never agreed to Gmail's terms of service or privacy policy.

The term "governmental request" is referred to three times on the Gmail terms-of-use page and once on their privacy page. This implies all Gmail account holders have effectively consented to allow Google to disclose any and all email content to any official from any government whatsoever, even when the request is informal or extralegal. Big Brother could not have wished for a better tool.

Mr Peter Ho, Head of Civil Service and Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that the Ministry of Finance and IDA’s Government CIO Office have started to develop a masterplan to up the ante.

Under the guise of a "government-with-you" paradiagm, James Kang, assistant chief executive and government chief information office of the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore, presented the government plans to move from data collection to "making sense of collected data". The government, he pointed out, is an ideal candidate to provide a platform and data, given its vast repository of information.

Currently the Singapore identity card number is a powerful access key for a whole array of confidential information, ranging from the status of your road tax payment to all your accounts in local financial institutions. And should you forgetfully leave your IC with the security guard of an office building, do not be surprised to receive a call on your private mobile number to retrieve it.

The 'G'-mail account they are offering all Singaporeans with internet access, to be called OneInbox, will serve as an electronic safe deposit box. Mail such as tax statements, reminders to renew TV llicences and bills for service & conservancy charges which town councils are so desperate to collect will be sent to this Internet mailbox. Scanned copies of private documentation such as baptismal certificates, deeds of trust funds, pre-nuptial agreements, certificates of deposits for offshore accounts, etc, are also invited to be stored there. "So, if there is a fire people no longer need to risk their lives running into their homes to save their important documents, " said Kang in packaging the softsell. Just make sure that you don't put your Edison Chen-type collection of photos in the vault.

No comments:

Post a Comment